Ever considered working in the Hospitality Industry?

I’ve always liked to travel and stayed in wonderful hotels but never seriously considered making a career in the Hospitality Industry when I was younger. I had the idea to run a Guest House when I’d have save enough money. And to make money, I decided to study Law and to specialise in Banking Law because I’ve always been interested in investments or « How to make more money without working! ». But during my internship in a Private Bank, I realised that it wasn’t my dream job to be stuck in an office from 9 am to 5 pm and to meet people who didn’t know if they could trust me.
I thought again about my dream of having a Guest House and decided that it might be great to gain experience in the Hospitality Industry to maximize my chances of success when I’ll start my own business.
It’s never too late to change your career path if you’re not happy in your job. Even if I earned much less money, I don’t regret my choice.
At the moment, I work in London in a 5* hotel as a Receptionist/Guest Relation agent.P1040638
In order to help you to decide if you want to work in the Hospitality Industry, I made a list of the pros and cons. However, this list is very personal and something that I listed like an advantage can be considered like a disadvantage by someone else.
Eden Roc Cap d’Antibes
-Pleasant environment
I only work in 5* hotels because I like luxury and refinement.
People who work in Front of House (Reception, Concierge, Restaurant, Spa for ex) are the first to enjoy the nice premises. But even people who work in Heart of House (Kitchen, Housekeeping, Security, Maintenance for ex) or in Back of House (Sales, Marketing, Reservation for ex) have the opportunity to enjoy the public areas.
And working in a splendid environment is good for the morale.
Corinthia London
-Flexibility in the schedule if you work in shifts
I like to work in shifts because if I’m Early (7 am – 3:30 pm), I can enjoy the rest of the afternoon and if I’m Late (3:00 pm – 11:30 pm), I can sleep in the morning.
It also allows me to work the weekends, as I prefer to be off during the week when most of the population is at work.
And if I want to take a 4 days long weekend, I can do it without using my holiday entitlement. Depending of the occupancy and the requests of my colleagues, I can have the equivalent of 2 weekends of a row, which means that I can be off from Friday afternoon (if I’m Early on that day) until Wednesday afternoon (if I’m late on that day).
Of course, I’ll have to work more than 5 days on a row before and/or after my long weekend but it doesn’t matter.
-Possibility to work around the world
In my short career, I already worked in Seychelles, in Geneva and now in London. In the future, I’d like to work in New York, in Hong Kong but above all in Sydney where I want to settle.
Until now, I’ve only worked for independent hotels. But I soon hope to join an international group to have the opportunity to be transferred in another country after a certain length of service.
And as the same is possible for my colleagues, I’ve friends all over the planet, which represents a good network to help me when I’ll be looking for a new job and a good opportunity to visit them.
Peninsula Hong Kong
-Career opportunities
The Hospitality Industry offers career opportunities vertically but also horizontally.
Being the largest and one of the most dynamic in the world today, the possibilities of evolution are endless.
The turnover is very important, which means that promotions come quicker than in other industries.
And if we want to work in another department, it’s totally feasible and even encouraged. This possibility is very important for me who can’t imagine doing the same job all my life. I worked in Food & Beverage, now I work at the Front Office and in the future I’d like to work in Human Resources. But who knows? I stay open to any opportunities.
-Interaction with guests
Engaging with guests is at the centre of most positions within the Hospitality Industry. It’s what our manager expect from us and it’s what differentiate a good hotel from a great hotel. In the actual competitive context where most hotels offer the same services, employees make the difference. Indeed, guests will be more likely to remember and to come back to the hotel with the best welcome than with the best bed. 
I really enjoy interacting with guests because even if my tasks are the same day after day, I don’t suffer routine as I encounter different guests from different countries and with different stories every days. 
Park Hyatt Sydney
-Meeting VIPS
When working in luxury hotels, chances are high to be in contact with very famous people (singers, actors, athletes…). It’s always nice to see them and sometimes interact with them but we have to stay professional at any time. No picture or autograph. They already have to deal with the horde of fans waiting outside. So when they’re in the hotel, whether for work or leisure, it’s their home away from home and they don’t want to be bothered. 
-Uniform provided
For the positions in Front of House but also most of the positions in Heart of House, uniforms are provided. It’s great because we don’t need to spend money in suits and in their maintenance but also to think about the outfit we’ll wear each day.
Nambiti Hills Game Lodge South Africa
-Free meals when on duty
I’m actually offered free meals when on duty, but it really depends of the goodwill of the hotel.  If not, we have to pay a very small amount to enjoy a full meal. This is another big saving at the end of the year.
-Discounts and/or free nights
Another advantage of working in Hospitality Industry that I really like, is that  we can enjoy discounts in the restaurants, at the Spa or on the room rate for ourselves but also for our family and friends. And if we work in a group, we have the same advantages in all the hotels of the group.
Some groups even reward their employees with a number of free nights within the hotels of the group.  Which means that we can spend more in shopping for example!
The Thief Oslo
When we work in direct contact with guests, whatever the position, we can expect tips, more or less often. And tips can be very good. Depending on the position, but also the location of the hotel, they can more than double our salary! And it’s good to know because salaries in the Hospitality Industry are not known to be exceptionally high.
Don’t except a high salary in the Hospitality Industry. Indeed, it’s one of the Industry in which the salaries are the lowest. But we have to take into consideration some of the advantages I mentioned before. Moreover, as promotions come quicker, the salary also increase quicker. 
Ice Hotel Jukkasjärvi
-Early wake up
At the Reception, Early shift normally begins at 7:00 am.
I was lucky enough to live 5 min from my previous work, so I could wake up at 6:15 am. Some of my colleagues had to wake up at 5:30 am… No comment! But even though, it was hard for me who hate to wake up early. After 4 Early shifts, I began to be very tired because when I finished at 3:30 pm, I don’t want to take a nap, I just want to enjoy the afternoon. This is why normally shifts are alternated: Early, Middle, Late and Night.
-Night shifts
I used to have about 2 night shifts every 3 weeks. I really hate night shifts because I worked most of the time alone so either I had too much work and I didn’t finish on time, or I had not enough work and it was very boring. Moreover, it’s very hard to adjust for night shifts and then to adjust again for day shifts. Especially when we only have one day off in between!
Marina Bay Sand Singapore
-Long hours
In the Hospitality Industry, we know at what time we begin but we never know for sure at what time we’ll finish.  And sometimes, these extra hours are not paid or compensated because it’s expected of us to stay if the operation required it. So check your contract!
Like in every jobs, we have to deal with people who complain. But much more in the Hospitality Industry. Sometimes the guests are right but sometimes they’re wrong. And sometimes the complaints are very stupid and/or insane but we have to stay serious at any time. At the reception, as it’s the main point of contact for the guest, we have to deal with the complaints of all the other departments. It’s annoying but it’s also a great opportunity to learn. My advice is to not take it too personally.
Mandarin Oriental New York
-Never really on holiday
People who work in the Hospitality Industry know how it works behind the scenes and exactly what to except. So whether in a plane, in a restaurant or in a hotel, our brain is never really off because we always compare, criticize, take notes… It can also be good because if we’re not happy with the service, we have the arguments to express our point of view.
-Missing events
We inevitably miss some events such as weddings, birthdays, or simply dinners with friends when we work in the Hospitality Industry. Why? Because we can’t request all the evenings and weekends off. And this is when people who don’t work in the same industry tend to organize events. So we have to prioritize the events we don’t want to miss and to request days off a long long time ago to be safe. 
The Churchill Bar London

There are so many diversified positions in the Hospitality Industry.
For the positions in first line, it’s not necessary to study after High School. However, especially in you want to make a career in this industry, it can be good to study Hospitality Management.  But unlike what most of your teachers might say, don’t except a position of Manager when you finish School. It can happen (with some luck and a good network) but it’s not that frequent. And it’s completely normal because to be a good manager, you first need to know what the people you manage do.
I’ve always wanted to study in a Swiss Hospitality School but never decided myself to ask my parents to pay for the outrageous school fees, this is why I finally chose a Business School in France. The classes are approximately the same but the biggest difference is the network. In Switzerland, many hotels come directly to the schools to recruit interns. In other countries, students don’t have this chance and have to apply themselves without knowing that most of the internships are already reserved. It can be demoralizing but at the end, everybody finds an internship. 
Me as an intern in Seychelles
If you’re really motivated to succeed in the Hospitalty Industry, there is no reason you couldn’t.

And try to always stay in good terms with the people you work as the world is smaller than you think!

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  • Reply Sophie October 21, 2014 at 9:12 am

    Merci pour cet article que j’ai trouvé très intéressant. J’aimerais beaucoup me reconvertir dans l’Hôtellerie et du coup j’ai beaucoup aimé lire ce que tu considères comme des avantages et des inconvénients à travailler dans ce secteur. Tu m’as encore plus conforté dans mon envie :) Je me pose encore beaucoup de questions, notamment sur les études. Accepterais-tu par hasard d’y répondre ?

    • Reply Cess HaT October 24, 2014 at 10:26 pm

      Hello Sophie,
      Tu peux m’envoyer toutes tes questions a et j’essaierai d’y répondre autant que possible!
      A bientôt

    • Reply Sophie October 25, 2014 at 7:52 pm

      Super, merci c’est sympa ! :)

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